Pro vs. con: Bedding

Today’s topic: Bedding.  

My position on the subject: Pro.

Additional points on my position: Usually snuggled deep under a worn comforter, no top sheet, only the fitted sheet tucked, and a pillow that will stand up to a lot of thrashing.  

There is nothing higher on the scale of creature comforts than those few moments of waning consciousness after you’ve crawled into bed for the night. Cold sheets that slowly warm to your body temperature. Finding one pose exquisitely relaxing, then repositioning yourself five minutes later to find something even better. You can do anything you want with your body — put your hand down the side of your pants, grind your teeth, drool to a point of near-dehydration — because it’s too dark for anyone to wonder what the hell is wrong with you. Your brain fills with a low buzz and next thing you know, it’s off to dreamland.  

Despite my abiding adulation of unconsciousness, I’ve never shown much respect for the materials that make a good night’s sleep possible. For one thing, I don’t “make” my bed, as the photo below will attest:  

The purplish thing is my comforter, not an anaconda

If there was one thing my mother stressed above all else while I was growing up, it was the making of the bed. I might’ve won the fifth-grade spelling bee. I may never have smoked or drank or hung out with the wrong crowd. I even won a college scholarship for writing an essay about how advertising represented freedom of speech. But I was a slacker on the practice of making my bed each morning, which explains the lack of neatness and propriety that has dogged my life ever since.  

Frankly, I just don’t see the point of carefully smoothing a bottom sheet, then tucking in a top sheet, positioning the pillow just so, and carefully draping a bedspread over the whole arrangement. Not when you’re just going to tear the work to shreds in a few hours. Someone, please tell me, what is the practical value of this exercise?  

Is there a steady stream of people you want to impress parading through your boudoir? I wish that were the case, but it is not.  

Is your ceiling on the verge of collapse, and you want to prevent fallen sheetrock from gnawing into the small of your back at 3 in the morning? Better see a drywall contractor.  

Not enough morning chores to do before you leave for work? You can pack a lunch, brew a pot of coffee and run over your neighbor’s dog in the time it takes create this meaningless confluence of textiles.  

I have heard the argument that bed-making keeps dust and dirt off your sleeping surface. That might be a good reason, if I didn’t have a pet who was half-cat, half-burrowing mole. Taylor likes nothing better than to spend the day under my covers, in a sleep made even deeper by a blanket-induced hypoxia. Besides, I’m sure I shed more skin cells during just one night than could ever float through the air and onto my sheets. (I even found half a toe lying there one morning after I got up — how could anything possibly be grosser than that?)  

All that being said, I do appreciate the immense trouble that some hotels go to in creating a soft centerpiece for their rooms. Some resemble a fine sculpture, maybe something from Alexander Calder but without so many pieces hanging on wires. Travelling on business, I’ve been fortunate enough on many occasions to plop down after a long day of work and get lost in the giant mound of pillows. I was once reported missing to the U.S. consulate in Chennai, India, until a maid found me the next afternoon. It was like I had died and gone to Pier One Imports.  

Henry Moore's "Reclining Figure" (1951) didn't need a coverlet

And what American hotels may lack in excessive pillowing, they tend to make up for with a wonderful piece of bedding called the “duvet.” For those of you not familiar with the finer things in life, a duvet is a quilt stuffed inside a blanket stuffed inside a sheet. The name alone, with its suggestions of French luxury not seen since the court of Louis XIV, is enough to send my muscles into a state of total relaxation. When I die, I want my body to be wrapped in a duvet. What you do with it after that doesn’t concern me. Throw it in an overgrown lot zoned for light industrial use for all I care.  

My only objection to hotel bedding is all the tucking that goes on. As a rather proud victim of Restless Leg Syndrome, I derive great pleasure from drifting off to sleep while my feet rotate spastically in circles. Such movement is not possible when the top sheet, duvet, blanket and bedspread are anchored under the mattress by an over-eager chambermaid who thinks all that work is getting her a bigger tip. There’s no line item on my reimbursable business expense report for lodging gratuities anyway.  

I hope that exposing myself as such a vulgarian doesn’t make you think less of me. I do tend to personify the decline of Western civilization when it comes to keeping my home neat and tidy. History tells us that it was only when the ancient Romans stopped making their beds that the Visigoths from the north were finally able to muster the wherewithal to sack the capital of the Christendom. Now, 16 centuries later, I’m signaling to a new generation of unwashed hordes that it’s time to make their entrance on the world stage.  

And they can start by taking a nap in my bed. They won’t even have to pull back the covers.

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2 Responses to “Pro vs. con: Bedding”

  1. tychy Says:

    whatever way you look at it, the solution to your problem is a woman: either a young woman to make the bed, or an older woman to tell you to make the bed.

  2. Paul Dixon Says:

    If you ever find yourself in NYC, check out the Benjamin Hotel, 51st and Lexington. The place is run by grown-ups, and the bedding is superb. Plus, you get to choose your pillow style from 12 different pillows.

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